By Taxpayers Association of Oregon
Oregon this month has been breaking back-to-back records for daily cases of COVID-19.
Here are some reasons why this is happening now.
#1. Oregon was lightly touched in the pandemic by state-by-state comparison. Oregon remained in the top 10, sometimes top 5 states for fewest COVID cases and fewest deaths during the first 14 months of the pandemic. When the Delta variant emerged, Oregon had a greater case-free population for it to infect.
#2. Delta variant is more contagious. The Delta variant is twice as contagious to other strains by some measurements.
#3. Delta variant is better at avoiding our defenses. Washington Post explains “Delta appears better at evading the immunity gained from either immunization or a previous coronavirus infection. It also appears less responsive to some of the antibody therapies used to treat Covid.”
#4. Oregon’s heavy-handed, marathon approach came at a cost. Oregon was among the first to close and re-open both in Spring 2020, Fall 2020 and Early 2021. Our restrictions were more restrictive than 40 other states. Our schools were also among the first to close and among the last to re-open. By the time Oregon finally re-opened in July 2021 we were among the final three states to open. We re-opened from a marathon long shutdown just as the more contagious variant was spreading. For other states who did less lockdowns, they had had greater case rates but managed through it, so when Delta arrived their population had greater population-rate immunity than Oregon. Oregon’s heavy-handed restrictions came at an incredible cost which makes it harder for the Governor to repeat it to handle it in time of greater need.
#5. Virus naturally go in cycles regardless of what humans do. This is the most difficult factor to explain but bears great importance to understanding where we are. In times past, when populations practiced no preventative measures against viruses, the viruses often would follow and ebb and flow pattern. This may explain why sometimes the virus spikes in lockdown states/nations and curiously falls in non-lockdown states/nations for no apparent reason. We may not know how much influence we have over the pandemic until after time has passed. The chart below of world infections shows a commonly shared pattern that happens despite different continents, regions and different lockdown strategies.
#6. COVID may be around for generations. Some viruses like the common cold and flu stay around despite our herculean efforts to eradicate it.
We offer these six explanations to provide better context to an extremely complicated crisis. It also reminds us that some things are beyond our control and that there is a limit to what government can do.